Winnetka, Community

Beloved bakery bringing brilliant breads and more to Winnetka

Hewn chooses Hubbard Woods district for its third location

Winnetka showed Hewn the love, and Hewn has reciprocated.

The highly regarded artisan bakery has leased space in Winnetka’s Hubbard Woods district for its third location, hoping to open this fall at 894 Green Bay Road — an audible from its previous plan to open in 964 ½ Green Bay Road, as has been reported elsewhere.

Hewn co-owner Ellen King said that for a while Winnetka customers and officials have urged the Evanston-based business to open a shop in their community.

“A lot of our customers come from the North Shore and have been asking us when we’re going to come,” King explained, “and also the village itself was really engaging with us, saying we’d love to have you and will keep you posted on openings. … We found exactly what we were looking for — maybe slightly bigger. The location is a great one.”

Hewn owners Julie Matthei (left) and Ellen King outside of their new Winnetka storefront. | Photo from Hewn Instagram

Liz Dechant, the Village of Winnetka’s economic development coordinator, said the Village contacted Hewn last fall and has aided in their search for a location.

“We are pleased to welcome them to the Village and think they will be a strong addition to our Hubbard Woods business district,” Dechant said.

With a focus on scratch baking and local sourcing, married couple King and Julie Matthei opened Hewn bakery in 2013 on Dempster Street in Evanston. A quick success, the business needed more space and expanded into an adjacent storefront. Seven years later, Hewn moved into a much larger location: 1733 Central St.

Hewn’s products have landed the shop on nearly every list of must-visit bakeries in Chicagoland. The keystone is its breads — rustic, robust, stone-milled and often built from heritage and seasonal grains.

Muffins, bagels, croissants, scones, cookies and more pastries also grace Hewn’s menus, along with a selection of sandwiches and coffee provided by Highwood-based Tala Coffee Roasters.

While King said Hewn has always wanted to grow, it has never been the mark of success.

“The most important thing is quality as we grow,” she said. “If we grow and maintain quality, that is most important. … I wouldn’t want to sell something I wouldn’t be proud of. Our staff knows it’s always quality over everything else.”

That said, expansion was always part of Hewn’s plans, according to King. But like most business hopes, Hewn’s were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During that period, Hewn went through a transition, cutting its wholesale operation and finding a larger storefront. After business leveled out, it wasn’t long before Hewn opened its second location. The Libertyville shop opened in January 2023.

Hewn is known for its wide variety of specialty breads.

Hewn approaches its growth like its products: thoughtfully.

“We’re not trying to move fast. We’re moving at a rate that feels natural,” King said. “… When we feel like it’s the right fit and right location and the staff is ready to take on another location, then it feels great.”

King’s sentiment was supported by her team’s expansion to Winnetka. Earlier this year, Hewn leased a storefront at 964 ½ Green Bay Road, but after further review, Hewn and the property owner agreed to cancel the lease when King’s team decided the space was inadequate for the bakery’s needs.

The final space at 894 Green Bay Road just north of Tower Road is 1,370 square feet. It is the former home of Pedego Electric Bicycles, which opened in 2020 and closed three years later.

“We’re really excited to be in Winnetka,” said King, who with Matthei lives in Wilmette.

The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.

Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

Related Stories